That is one thing that I do not say to a roomful of teenagers. Having sets of eyes roll simultaneously while I speak is not really my thing. Students love to hear a good story from their teacher, but not when it is announced like a lecture is about to be delivered.
Don’t roll your eyes, but when I was in school we didn’t have a great way to communicate about the great books that we read. I wasn’t encouraged to find amazing young adult literature and enjoy it on a daily basis. To be honest, I don’t remember reading many books outside of the required curriculum in school. Readicide was taking place in my hometown.
Read-i-cide n: The systematic killing of the love of reading, often exacerbated by the inane, mind-numbing practices found in schools. – from Kelly Gallagher’s Readicide
I was nearly a victim, and I don’t even know how I escaped. At one point (sophomore year I believe) each student in our class was required to choose a book from a list of classics to read on our own. I scoured the library, searching long and hard for the perfect book. Debating over covers, summaries, and what my friends were going to read led to great confusion. But I knew it when I saw it – The Old Man and the Sea by Earnest Hemingway. At only 93 pages long, this choice was a no brainer!
It is slightly embarrassing for me, a current English teacher, to have chosen a book based on the number of pages, but where was the support? Where were the book talks and personal recommendations? Where was the display of great books to choose from?
There are many students today who are taking advantage of Goodreads.com, a type of social networking devoted to books. You can rate and keep track of what you have read and get recommendations based on those ratings. You can also join groups and see what other people are reading.
Goodreads is just another way to help our students avoid the perils of readicide in schools. Join in and start liking books! When our students start to say, “When I was your age…” we don’t want them to be complaining about the lack of great books and recommendations in schools.